Friday, April 12, 2013

Pilots Work to Save Big Country AirFest after Dyess Backs Out: Abilene Regional Airport, Texas (With Video)

You can see them flying high, every May, during Abilene's annual Big Country Airfest, except this year, as Gary Potter admits:

"The air shows not going to be the same."

The sky will be a bit emptier after budget cuts forced the Air Force to cancel their public airshow.

However, that doesn't mean the Airfest has been entirely cancelled.

"It'll be a smaller, more intimate get together," said the President of the Experimental Aircraft Association's Abilene Chapter 471.

At least that's if Potter and other members have anything to do with it.

"We're going to try to do something for the local aviation community," said Potter.

While Air Force participation did have a big influence on the shows turnout, which brought in hundreds of participants, for Potter, the show must go on.

Except without much public participation, since only pilots will be allowed in.

"The experimental aircraft association does not want to hold themselves liable for any injuries that could occur to the general public," he said.

Spectators may have to just stand outside of the airport to catch a glimpse.

"They could come out and park alongside the roads and see airplanes flying," said Potter.

Members searching for other pilots to participate in their own event which will include an airplane rally and fly in.

So far people from all over are signing up.

"I believe we're expecting people to come from Oklahoma and New Mexico," said Potter.

They just aren't sure of how many  will show up.

"We have no idea, whether it will be 10 airplanes that fly in or 1000 airplanes fly in," he said.

One thing is for sure, come May 3rd you'll be able to spot Potter's plane up in the sky and he'll be there with a few others to participate in the annual breakfast his chapter sponsors.

"We don't know if were going to run out of eggs and bacon or not, we're just going to hope," he said.

Because there's no grounding their plans to keep the Airfest going.

The fly in is scheduled for May 3rd at the Abilene Regional Airport.

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